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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 11-21-11, 02:51 PM   #1
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Recommendations for a new to SS rider

I have one road bike and when I just need to run to the store, take a ride with the kids, etc. it's too much bike and not one I want to lock up outside anyway. I've been thinking a SS might be a fun (and hopefully cheaper) option for around town trips.

What I'm not sure about is where to start - which frame?

I was kind of partial to the Surly 1x1 but the 26in wheels are a turn off. I'm 6'3" so a somewhat larger bike is desirable. The Karate Monkey fits the bill but I think I'll run fairly narrow tires as it will be a mostly pavement bike. Might work okay. Since I have more of a road orientation, the Soma double cross was my first choice, but the lack or horizontal drops has me worried. Do I need one of those eccentric hubs or will a regular one work on the Some DC? The Surly Cross Check is probably a good option as well, but the forward facing drops worry me for some reason and I like the Soma better.

So, what are some of the better (but in the same price range as those mentioned) SS frames out there to consider? How practical is the double cross for SS?

Thanks.
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Old 11-21-11, 03:23 PM   #2
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If you will be using a single speed freewheel, then you will want a rear brake. Assuming the rear is a rim brake (not disk), then you want forward facing semi-horizontal dropouts, so you don't have to have to readjust the brake pad position every time you change the position of the wheel in the dropouts. Also, you won't need a chain tensioner or eccentric hub / BB as you would with vertical dropouts. I have lots of bikes with semi-horizontal dropouts and both quick releases and axle nuts, and I've yet to pull a wheel. It also makes it easier to remove / install the wheel if you have full fenders. For road use w/o a disk brake, just get a frame with 120mm spacing in the rear dropouts and you will find it easier to find wheels that will fit with a SS hub.
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Old 11-21-11, 04:16 PM   #3
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If you want a bare frame to build yourself... Salsa Casseroll - pretty much any bike shop should be able to order one.
$550

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Old 11-21-11, 04:19 PM   #4
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Vassago Fisti, Surly Karate Monkey.

That's my shortlist.
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Old 11-21-11, 04:24 PM   #5
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For your needs, a single speed road bike conversion might be a good option. If you keep an eye on craigslist for a roadbike that is your size and is of your liking you can buy or build a single speed rear wheel and remove derailleurs, extra chainrings, shifters, and switch to a single speed chain. Most older road bikes will have forward facing semi horizontal dropouts that are perfect for singlespeed conversions because they work well with a rear brake and allow chain tensioning. If you have a big budget, by all means keep shopping for singlespeed frames, but if you want to save some money and get a comparable bike, look into converting.
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Old 11-21-11, 04:30 PM   #6
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http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...essenger_x.htm

They have some your size. I don't know which one, but they have a good range in stock. Free brakes and freewheel included.

Tear it up.
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Old 11-21-11, 06:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
If you will be using a single speed freewheel, then you will want a rear brake. Assuming the rear is a rim brake (not disk), then you want forward facing semi-horizontal dropouts, so you don't have to have to readjust the brake pad position every time you change the position of the wheel in the dropouts. Also, you won't need a chain tensioner or eccentric hub / BB as you would with vertical dropouts. I have lots of bikes with semi-horizontal dropouts and both quick releases and axle nuts, and I've yet to pull a wheel. It also makes it easier to remove / install the wheel if you have full fenders. For road use w/o a disk brake, just get a frame with 120mm spacing in the rear dropouts and you will find it easier to find wheels that will fit with a SS hub.
Thanks. This is the kind of information I'm pretty clueless about. Not sure I understand why forward facing drops are better with respect to brake alignment and such. The Surly 1x1 has rear facing drops and it's a SS/FG specific bike.

Also, none of these bikes seem to have 120mm spacing.

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Semi-horizontal dropouts give you singlespeed compatibility and wheelbase adjustability. Adjuster screws are included to keep your wheel in the right place for optimal shifting if you go with derailleurs. Our Gnot-rite spacing (132.5mm) allows you to run 130mm road hubs and 135mm MTB hubs
Does that mean that SS hubs are generally 120mm and with a frame like this I would need spacers? The 1x1 is 135mm rear spacing.
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Old 11-21-11, 06:57 PM   #8
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Not sure I understand why forward facing drops are better with respect to brake alignment and such.
Forward facing dropouts are angled to match the angle of the rear brake caliper, so as you move the wheel in the dropouts, the rim remains the same distance from the calipers, such that the brake blocks do not need to be moved in the caliper slots to maintain the proper position relative to the rim's braking surface. Rear facing "track" dropouts are truly horizontal, such that moving the wheel changes the rim's distance from the brake caliper, requiring readjustment of the brake pads. This makes sense, since fixed gear track bikes do not normally have rear or any brakes.
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Old 11-21-11, 09:44 PM   #9
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Vassago Fisti, Surly Karate Monkey.

That's my shortlist.
So, would a karate monkey make a good skinny tire (25 or 28c) SS or really more fat tire oriented?


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Forward facing dropouts are angled to match the angle of the rear brake caliper, so as you move the wheel in the dropouts, the rim remains the same distance from the calipers, such that the brake blocks do not need to be moved in the caliper slots to maintain the proper position relative to the rim's braking surface. Rear facing "track" dropouts are truly horizontal, such that moving the wheel changes the rim's distance from the brake caliper, requiring readjustment of the brake pads. This makes sense, since fixed gear track bikes do not normally have rear or any brakes.
Thanks. That makes sense, but doesn't quite explain why a bike like the surly 1x1 or karate monkey have rear facing drops and are set up for disc or rim brakes. They are more mtb I guess so maybe that's part of it. Maybe just not as easy to work with but once set up you would think it wouldn't matter much.

Seems the frames I like are more track frames but I'm not ready for that approach (I need brakes). Doesn't seem any soma frame will work (except maybe their mixte which I don't really like).
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Old 11-22-11, 05:44 AM   #10
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many surlys were already mentioned here, except the right one...

steamroller
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Old 11-22-11, 10:07 AM   #11
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many surlys were already mentioned here, except the right one...

steamroller
Thanks for the suggestion. Looked at that, but seems more FG oriented and no braze-ons for racks is a deal breaker for me. Also has the rear facing drops that seem to be an issue for SS and brakes but still not totally clear on this.
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Old 11-22-11, 10:33 AM   #12
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Thanks for the suggestion. Looked at that, but seems more FG oriented and no braze-ons for racks is a deal breaker for me. Also has the rear facing drops that seem to be an issue for SS and brakes but still not totally clear on this.
It also has no brake cable housing stops on the top tube for routing the rear brake cable. This means having to use unsightly clips and a longer housing means more drag on the cable. Little details, for sure, but annoying. Also, with track dropouts, getting the wheel in and out and adjusting chain tension is a bit more involved than with forward facing semi-horizontal dropouts. Again, not the end of the world, but less convenient.
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Old 11-22-11, 10:36 AM   #13
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Strange that the Blue Moto Messenger doesn't have brake cable housing stops..
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Old 11-22-11, 11:17 AM   #14
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Strange that the Blue Moto Messenger doesn't have brake cable housing stops..
I think it's essentially the same frameset as the Windsor Hour, which is sold as a fixed gear. A better choice would be the Windsor Clockwork, which does have rear brake cable housing stops, and costs the same as the Moto Messenger.

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Old 11-22-11, 11:32 AM   #15
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I think it's essentially the same frameset as the Windsor Hour, which is sold as a fixed gear. A better choice would be the Windsor Clockwork, which does have rear brake cable housing stops, and costs the same as the Moto Messenger.

Hmm. Interesting .. same geometry too?
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Old 11-22-11, 12:04 PM   #16
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A bit more searching and I found the Soma Van Ness which is a track bike but says can be built as SS and from the small image looks like it has brake routing. Doesn't have braze-ons for racks so maybe I need to let that go. Wasn't sure I would use a rack anyway but wanted the option. Still like the double cross best but seems not well suited to SS setup.

Thoughts? Good SS option?
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Old 11-23-11, 02:11 PM   #17
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Surly Crosscheck
Pake C'Mute
All-City Space Horse (Not out yet)
Salsa Casseroll
Handsome Cycles Devil or Speedy
Civia Prospect
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Old 11-23-11, 02:37 PM   #18
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Thanks for the tips. I think of those I like this one best though I don't really know way. Probably a combination of color and geometry. However, I'm still leaning toward a more SS specific frame like the Van Ness linked above. I like the overall simplicity. Maybe once I get used to it I'll switch to a FG but I need to start off with brakes and a freewheel as that's what I'm used to.
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